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Sunday, 26 September 2010

How long do we as Sales Managers accept Poorest Performance?


I want to deal with a thorny issue:  

Never try to teach a pig to sing;
it wastes your time and
it annoys the pig

Robert Heinlein quotes
(American science-fiction writer, 1907-1988)


In over 20 years Coaching and Managing “Poorest Performers” it just doesn’t work. It wastes YOUR most precious resource TIME, and you get no thanks from anyone. I have seen a few Sales Managers cut short their careers due to their stubborn behaviour in persisting beyond the limit “Coaching” Poorest performers.

These are the guiding lights for the Manager/Coach.

1. Know thyself

2. Nothing in excess

You cannot teach or coach a Pig to sing, it just cannot be done.

If you are trying to do it then you do not know yourself, you are not capable.
Your JOB is to manage and coach Winners not cosset poor performers.

Let us put some numbers together.

Success modelling BMAC A ‘POOREST Performer’ at their current sales speed (Monthly) will take at least 24 months to achieve this year’s Target.

Every sales person at below 50% YTD (year to date) against the YTD target
is a poorest performer.

Below 80%, Target is a poor performer. Low average is 80%-90% and High average is 90%-120% and finally 120%+ is a Top Performer.


If you do not have Salespeople in ALL these categories,
then you have a Sales Targeting issue, too hard or too easy!

Taking a snap shot with the sales year half over (six-month point), you have 3 of your 20 sales people with only 25% or less of their annual target sold. At the high end you have a top performer with 100% of her target complete, and a number of others who should, at their current sales speed, be through their year’s Target before October.

Whom are you going to coach?

If you decide to invest time at the bottom few, even if you double their performance, it will make little difference to YOUR number across 20 people.

  • Know thyself, says It’s the wrong place with the wrong people.

  • Nothing in excess says to spend 30 or 40 precious hours to little result is the wrong place with the wrong people.

What can you do with Poorest Performers?

poorest performing sales peopleProduce a Personal Improvement Plan which they OWN for improvement in Activity, Knowledge and Skills.
Review the changes after 4 weeks, if no or little change has occurred, then move to the next stage in disciplinary, with a view that unless they can change within the next month you will terminate their contract.

After 4 weeks, if there has been noticeable improvements due to the efforts of the individual, then review and update the plan for 4 more weeks. Their sales run rate should have moved to above 60% for the month.

After 8 weeks, there should be a substantial improvement in Activity, Skill and Knowledge. They should be at or above the average for sales activity, and be achieving pipeline growth at the average rate. If these standards are not met, then move to the next stage in the disciplinary procedure with a view to terminate their contract.

Poor performing Sales peopleAfter 12 week, they should be at or above average in all areas with all results. Their Sales this month should be above 80% of the monthly target. If 80% of Monthly Sales Target has not been achieved then move to the next stage of the disciplinary procedure, with a view to terminating their contract.

12 weeks is the maximum investment in the poorest performer, and 4 or 8 weeks may be appropriate in many cases.

After 12 weeks its either up or out, and it was down to their personal effort, not your time investment.
You had spent the last three-months focussing on your Top Performers where you had amazing results!

1 comment:

  1. Visit HBR to see some "research"